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  1. Default Three week holiday. Back Roads and B&Bs advice please.

    Hi all, my wife and I are planning a three week trip to the States - we have been several times before and we tended to stay off the beaten track, stay in small B&Bs, lodges etc. but those trips have been West Coast and Central.

    This time we plan to hire a car from Newark and visit/drive through Pennsylvania, Kentucky,Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin,Michigan, Ohio, New York, Vermont, Maine then back to Newark. Is this too ambitious in 3 weeks? You can see we are doing a sort of loop so could cut it shorter if its a stretch.

    Would appreciate any advice on the more unusual places to stay We have stayed in converted schools, trailer in Rachel, ex Brothels etc. so may give you an idea of our choices!

    Would also appreciate any advice on scenic routes, avoiding tolls, and any must see places to visit.

    Finally, can anyone suggest an easy non stressful way to get out of Newark Airport out heading South West as our first place we are heading for is McClure PA.

    Many thanks in advance for any advice given. Appreciate I could Google and Trip Advisor all day long but I like to get real time advice from these forums.

    Terry & Debbie, Scotland.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default To Start Out

    Ceud mìle fàilte! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There are two separate (and widely separated) towns called McClure in Pennsylvania, but I wouldn't count on driving to either on the day you fly in from Scotland. You will have already had a long day and so your first order of business should be getting to someplace to spend a quiet first night and get over your jet lag. Getting out of Newark (Liberty) International Airport couldn't be simpler. Just leave the airport to the north on US-1/US-9 and in less than a mile get on Interstate (motorway) I-78 westbound. That will take you through and out of the New York metro area. Once you are past Springfield NJ (about 10 miles from the airport) things start to open up quite a bit. I-78 will then let you continue on the next morning into central Pennsylvania, but for more specific directions after that, we'd need to know which McClure you're headed for.

    More generally, three weeks should be enough time for a relatively relaxed tour of the corner of the country you are planning to visit, as long as you aren't planning on several long stays in any one place. You're looking at roughly 3,500 miles which means you'd have to average about 175 miles a day to keep on pace.

    We don't really have any set of generic "must see" places that we tick off. That's what makes us different from the other travel sites you mentioned. So before we can recommend specifics, either routes or attractions, until you tell us a bit more about what you are interested in seeing. I will say that I have stayed in some unique B&Bs in the past including an ole one-room schoolhouse, a former grist mill, and one that used to belong to my uncle and which I explored in detail as a kid (and could tell the new owners some 'secrets' about). But sadly all three of those are no longer in business. It is the nature of B&Bs that they demand a lot of effort from their proprietors and that causes many of them to close after only a few years. One resource my wife uses a lot for short stays is AirBnB, but that tends to feature full homes for rent rather than the more social settings of true B&Bs.

    AZBuck

  3. Default

    Taing mhór, AZBuck, very kind of you to reply. Out main interest is small towns that are not huge tourist attractions and I would rather spend my money towards the very type of B&B;s that you mention that are, sadly, no longer in business. We love history, scenic views, sitting holding hands with a glass of wine watching the sun set. We love locally made art (spent a fortune in NM !). Prefer a rural place to stay as opposed to city large chain hotels etc. We would prefer back road routes that take us roughly where we want to go.

    One of our trips was a similar 3 week loop trip, we booked first night last night at the airport hotel and made it up as we went along with a few must do's pencilled in along the way. That was all before the internet was as big as it is today and we relied on copies of Fodors for each state!

    In summary, we want a quiet slow trip through the wonderful USA, seeing the unusual, staying in the places that are unique and spending time in small towns that are overlooked by the masses.
    Many thanks
    Terry & Debbie

  4. #4
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    Mar 2005
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    Default In Which Case...

    I'd probably build this journey around roads rather than destinations. Staying on roads less traveled will by itself bring you to the small towns, scenic views and romantic settings you seek. Here are some of the best that more or less fit with your loop: the Historic National Road, the Ohio River Scenic Byway, the Red River Gorge Scenic Byway, the Illinois River Road, the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, and the Kancamagus Scenic Byway. You should also get a good atlas of the US, one that marks scenic roads (typically with a parallel green dotted or dashed line) so that you can find other smaller connections between those major byways.

    In the same vein, I can tell you some of the best natural sites on your general route such as Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Mammoth Cave National Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Niagara Falls, Adirondack Park, and Acadia National Park. But again, those are just the highlights, There are also numerous state parks (another good reason to get a good atlas of the US), national forests and national wildlife refuges.

    Once you have some of the major sites and routes picked out we can perhaps help you to stitch them together in a way that makes the best of your time in America. I will note that upstate New York is home to some excellent wineries, while Kentucky is better known for its bourbon (whiskey). And you should also plan on seeing a bit of Canada, since the easiest way from northern Wisconsin or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Niagara Falls (and the best views of the falls) is via Canada.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Melbourne, Australia
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    Default Scenic routes and small towns.

    Quote Originally Posted by TerryE View Post
    Would also appreciate any advice on scenic routes, avoiding tolls, and any must see places to visit.
    It would be hard to find a route in PA which is not scenic. I suggest you check out US6 - which is more a destination than a route - and US 11 which takes you to the spectacular Tunkhannock Railway Viaduct. Among the many scenic routes is the Elk Country Scenic Byway, off I-80. It appeared to have some nice looking accommodation along its way. Here is a link to other scenic routes in PA.

    Lots of small towns in PA are tucked away in the mountains. (I'd imagine that these might be the places you'd find the accommodation for which you are looking.) One I particularly liked is Jim Thorpe with the nearby Hickory SP and Boulder Fields. US209 which passes by Jim Thorpe passes through many small towns all the way to the Susquehanna River.

    A few years ago when I drove US20 in New York, I saw two accommodation places - though I did not stay at either. They caught my attention because of their names. Can't recall or find where I wrote the names, but US20 in NY is another of these routes which passes through lots of small towns.

    Lifey

  6. Default

    Thank you both for your advice. I love the idea of choosing the routes and the accommodation will follow. Will spend the next few days plotting a rough route based on your suggestions and post back on here for any further input from you all.

    AZBuck, to answer your question about which McClure, its the one on Route 522. Plan to stay on a farm for a couple of days early on in our trip before we set off. I did a route checker and it estimated a 3 1/2 hour drive from Newark which we thought we would do in a morning then relax.

    Libby, we have Jim Thorpe pencilled in as part of our trip! Great minds think alike!
    Again, thanks for your help so far and be back on here soon.
    Take care and regards
    Terry & Debbie

  7. Default

    PS, my wife likes a nice bottle of wine and I am a huge fan of bourbon. I can see me doing the driving through New York and hope Debbie returns the gesture in Kentucky.!!

  8. #8
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    Default The Kinds of Choices You'll be Making

    Your drive from Newark Airport to McClure is a good example of the options that are open to you and the kinds of decisions you'll need to reach on your trip. As a microcosm of your overall trip, this first leg bears a bit of scrutiny. And it begins right at the beginning. I had said that I-78 presented the easiest way out of the airport heading west into Pennsylvania, and that is true. But with only a four hour drive ahead of you to get to McClure you may want to start your exploration of America's smaller roads, scenic sites, and romantic venues early.

    Indeed, there are at least two sites worth seeing between Newark and McClure, the Delaware Water Gap and the town of Jim Thorpe. So how to get there? Unfortunately, to do both would mean spending more time on the freeways of the New York area, namely, taking I-78 to NJ-24 (freeway quality) to I-287 north and finally I-80 west. The last exit in New Jersey (Exit 1) will put you on River Road north into the park with a hiking trail (the Karamak Trail) also following the river and a trail head just a half mile or so from the freeway exit.

    After a nice stroll along the Delaware River, you would return to I-80, but you would have to get on it eastbound and go to the next exit (again, just about half a mile) to get off and get back on going westbound. Next, once across the river and into Pennsylvania US-209 joins I-80 and a short while later, on the other side of the town of Stroudsburg, leaves again at Exit 304. So should you as US-209 provides a great scenic route down to Jim Thorpe. It then continues to Millersburg and one of my favorite back road diversions, a small ferry across the river. From there it would be just a short jog north on US-11/US-15 to a set of small state roads (PA-17/PA-235/US-522) to McClure.

    Such are the decisions and details you'll need to attend to each day on a RoadTrip that "tend[s] to stay off the beaten track". They emphasize the need for a good set of maps and the ability to read them. No GPS is ever going to take you on the route outlined above. More's the pity.

    AZBuck

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Default Better check it out before you get there.

    That River Road in NJ is a lovely drive. I drove it not two years ago.

    The little ferry Buck mentions is one I wanted to have a trip on, but it was not running, and the lady suggested I call before I got there, as they may be able to run it. Worth checking out. Hope I get a ride on it one day, it looks and sounds lovely.

    Lifey

  10. Default

    Again, thanks for all your advice, I will go back to basics and look at routes first, especially my first couple of days which is not as straight forward as I thought, then work around that. Be back soon.
    Terry & Debbie,

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